Last week we re-launched our website for our performance dress shirts. It had been about a year since we took our idea to Kickstarter. It's never easy to do a launch. There are hundreds of ideas out there on how best to launch. I would never claim we're experts at launch, so I'm not going to tell you how to launch a product. I wanted to take a minute to talk about how it feels to go through a "launch." Most companies will go through many different launches. There are the "soft launches," the big launches, the product launches, the new program launches, and so on and so on. It all sounds fun, but they're terrifying. If you're on the fence about launching a new product, or starting a company, make sure you have the stomach for a launch.
For those that have not yet gone through a launch, I think the best comparison is to picture youself walking on to a stage in front of all your friends, family, acquaintances, random people, etc, and giving a speech. Obviously, it's not as scary as giving a speech -Jerry Seinfeld once said you'd rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy at a funeral- but it does have that feel. You are putting yourself out there in front of everyone you know. You get to hide behind a computer for the most part, but your ideas and thoughts and actions are out there for everyone to see and judge.
My idea was for a "performance dress shirt." I have always been active, I sweat a lot, and loved wearing Nike dri-fit clothing. I could never wear that to work, so came up with the idea to combine the athletic-wear material similar to dri-fit to a 100% cotton dress shirt. It was not the first performance dress shirt. Companies like Mizzen + Main and Ministry of Supply make two really cool performance dress shirts. Ours was a different take on the shirt...rather than "performance meets professional," we wanted to be "professional meets performance." I thought it was a good idea, my wife, parents, and a few close friends liked it. But what would the entire world, and everyone I have ever met think?
Your ideas and actions are what make you who you are. Putting them out there in front of everyone is difficult and scary. And it is a huge reason for the depression issues across silicon valley and other start-up locations. Being able to manage the expecations and being confident in your ideas and who you are will help you through the launch and going forward.